The Sailfin Tang is commonly referred as the Indian Ocean Sailfin Tang, Desjardin's Sailfin Tang, or Red Sea Sailfin Tang. During the juvenile stage, the Sailfin Tang is a solitary creature who prefers to stay hidden among rocks or corals. As it grows as an adult, it becomes dark to very light gray in color with light freckles on the nose and yellow freckles on the abdomen. The presence of very sharp scales at the base of its tail makes it hard to maintain for a beginner aquarist. When threatened, it can raise their scales like a knife and can swim backwards at an enemy. It mostly lives singly or in pairs at its adult stage. The Sailfin Tang needs a bigger aquarium and should not be housed in tank smaller than 40 gallons of water. It is a hardy and tolerant species who thrives well in a temperature range of 74-82 degree Celsius and pH range of 8.1 to 8.4. The Sailfin Tang feeds chiefly on leafy macroalgaes, therefore natural growth of algae should be encouraged in the tank by incorporating live rocks. Also, high quality flakes and pellets rich in vitamin A and C should be given for its continued growth of health and to maintain the color of the Sailfin Tang. Male Sailfin Tangs tends to grow larger that the female Sailfin Tang. Though it can get along with other tank mates quite peacefully, but is territorial in nature towards the similar looking fishes. The Sailfin Tang may devour certain invertebrates, and it may inadvertently topple corals while swimming. It is fairly resistant to skin parasites, and is also more tolerant of copper based medications. The risk of serious skin parasites can be precluded with the addition of cleaner shrimps or neon gobies. We recommend you to handle this fish with care, since it can inflict painful wounds that may lead to discoloration and swelling.
These fish are colored in shades of brown and black with many vertical bands and spots covering their body. The Dejardinii Sailfin has large rounded dorsal and anal fins that continue the color of its body. They are easy to keep and do well in fish-only or reef tanks. Keep only one per tank. They are voracious algae eaters.The Surgeonfish family consists of fish which are colorful, thin-bodied, and usually have an oval shape. These fish have long continuous dorsal and anal fins and crescent tailfins. The scalpel at the base of their tailfin is very sharp and is used by the fish for protection from predators as well as a way of establishing itself with other fish. These fish are usually seen at reefs eating algae all day long.Photo by Saltwaterfish.com member, ElitePhoto: Jerry Hague.